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VERIFY: Can your pet get sick from COVID-19?

World Health Organization says there's no evidence your pet can contract COVID-19.

SAN DIEGO COUNTY, Calif. — It's not just humans who have questions about when it comes to contracting coronavirus. Some viewers are wondering if their pets are at risk, too.

According to the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Hong Kong's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, your pets are NOT at risk.

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"You cannot get coronavirus from your dog or your cat. Your dog and your cat are not the enemy here," said San Diego Humane Society Administrative Lieutenant of Emergency Services John Peaveler.

According to Hong Kong's Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department, there was a dog in Hong Kong that tested positive for a low-grade infection from coronavirus, but the pet hasn't shown any symptoms. 

"A dog can be a fomite like anything else," said Lt. Peaveler. "A fomite is any object that has contamination on it. Which is something we deal a lot with at the shelter. A dog toy or cat toy may have disease on it, but it does not mean the animal is the carrier for that particular thing."

Both the CDC and the WHO, said it is likely the dog got the virus from a human and at this point, there's no evidence pets can pass COVID-19 onto humans or other pets.

According to the CDC

"While this virus seems to have emerged from an animal source, it is now spreading from person-to-person in China. There is no reason to think that any animals including pets in the United States might be a source of infection with this new coronavirus. To date, CDC has not received any reports of pets or other animals becoming sick with COVID-19. At this time, there is no evidence that companion animals including pets can spread COVID-19."

Masks for dogs are not necessary. Pet owners are asked to please not abandon them. 

According to Chinese animal rescue groups, there's been an increase in abandoned pets since the outbreak.

"People should absolutely not be worried about their pets contracting coronavirus. They are not vectors for coronavirus. They do not have it. Pets bring us all joy, we should let them continue to do so," said Lt. Peaveler.

Experts said practice good hygiene, wash your hands after being around pets, livestock, and wildlife just as you would normally do. If you're concerned about your pet's health, contact your vet.

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